Austria 2-0 Italy: Azzurri ends 2022 in style

Austria 2-0 Italy: Azzurri ends 2022 in style

Italy ended 2022 with a disappointing friendly loss to Austria, beaten by Xavier Schlager and David Alaba goals, only really waking up once Federico Chiesa and Nicolò Zaniolo came along.

The Azzurri played their last match of 2022 in Vienna, just hours after the World Cup kicked off in Qatar. Sandro Tonali retired after injury in the 3-1 win over Albania, with Roberto Mancini continuing to experiment with the 3-4-3 formation and making five changes from the starting XI in Tirana.

In the opening minute, David Alaba risked an own goal in his desperate interception of Federico Dimarcoroulent for James Raspadori.

However, Austria took the lead when Xavier Schlager robbed Marco Verratti in midfield – according to the PSG man with a foul – and scored on the Marko Arnautovic assist. There was no VAR in this friendly so protests were ignored.

It was almost 2-0 moments later, this time Nicolò Barella lost it in midfield and Nicolas Seiwald sent Francesco Acerbi to the ground before clipping the top of the crossbar. On the resulting corner, Gianluigi Donnarumma muffled the Junior Adamou back heel strike.

Much like the midweek victory in Albania, Italy had conceded an early goal but risked more with Arnautovic moving past Federico Gatti to set up twice Adamu, who failed to finish.

Adamu also didn’t make the most of an Acerbi howler when he threw the clearance straight at him from 12 yards, only hitting the upright.

Austria doubled their lead with a ferocious missile from a long-range free kick from Alaba that was blasted under the crossbar.

Donnarumma was ready for the save moments later, putting his fingertips on a Marcel sabiter strike, while Matteo Politano forced the first real save at the near post.

Mancini transformed the team at half-time, introducing Federico Chiesa, Nicolò Zaniolo, Giorgio Scalvini and Matteo pessina.

Donnarumma still had his gloves bitten by Arnautovic and made a fantastic reaction save on the Stéphane Posch header at the back post.

Zaniolo stole a Federico Dimarco cross the bar and Alaba made an unorthodox interception to prevent Raspadori from clearing, while Chiesa curled clear of the far post.

Raspadori had a big chance as he hooked a ball from Verratti over the top to shoot from six yards, denied only by Lidnner who stuck out a leg to deflect it wide.

Zaniolo made a strong run down the left and pulled back for Chiesa to brush the crossbar for the first time from 12 yards out.

A cross was snatched from Leonardo Bonucci’s header and the defender failed to reach a deflected Matteo pessina shot to the back post.

Austria 2-0 Italy

Schlager 6 (A), Alaba 35 (A)

Austria: Lindner; Posch, Leinhart, Alaba, Wober (Mwene 72); Seiwald, X Schlager; Baumgartner (Grillitsch 81), Sabitzer, Adamu (Schmid 81); Arnautovic (Gregoritsch 72)

Italy: Donnarumma; Gatti (Pessine 46), Bonucci, Acerbi; Di Lorenzo (Scalvini 46), Barella (Miretti 89), Verratti, Dimarco; Politano (Chiesa 46), Raspadori (Gnonto 72), Grifo (Zaniolo 46)

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